Living in a Third Soil World

Daily Reading: This morning, we’re reading Luke 8. Start there, then read this devotion that will tie in with what you’ve read.

soilAt the risk of sounding like an old man, I must say, “Things just aren’t the way they used to be.” I was pretty close to the last generation of people to graduate high school without smart phones. Now before you tune me out, I’m writing this post on a MacBook Pro while listening to music on my iPhone 7, and just to show my allegiance to Steve Jobs’ legacy, there’s an iPad within reach.  I’m not anti technology. But I see a real danger in my own life and the lives of those around me that the parable of the sower challenges head on.

You may know the parable of the sower. It is recorded in Luke 8 like this:

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

– Luke 8:5–8 ESV

Don’t get me wrong, I know that each of these “soil types” represent real dangers in our world today. But this morning I want to to think for a minute about the third one. Jesus explains the parable to his disciples and he describes the third soil like this, “as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. (Lk 8:14)” Is this not the world we live in? From the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep we have little “cares of this world” boxes in our pockets. If we find time to intake God’s word at all, the moment we are done we pull out our iPhone’s and become immersed again in the cares of the world. And let’s not just pick on smart phones. We have Netflix for binge watching, 24hr news for…(what’s 24hr news for?), sports all day Saturday, insert whatever entertainment or information stream you want ad infinitum.

The gospel of Jesus, found in the seeds of the Word, is a life altering reality that is supposed to invade every corner of our souls. We have opportunity to have seeds scattered on our hearts as often as we desire, but do we forget it by the time we Tweet it? Do we loose the beauty of the truth as we consider how many likes our beautiful Instagram post will draw. I hate to be cliche, but somehow everyone has time for multiple forms of social media, yet not to consume the Word of God. We all find time to interact with the infinite streams of information coming our way through our smart phones, but we know no more of the nature of God than we did this time last year.

I’m not sure I have an answer for us this morning. I don’t want to land on law. I don’t plan to toss my iPhone in the gulf. But I do want to live a counter cultural, gospel shaped life as I interface with technology. I don’t want the Word of God to be chocked out by the distraction box I choose to carry in my pocket. Join me in asking God for wisdom when it comes to technology.  To do that, you’ll need to be willing to silence the Snapchat notifications for 5 minutes to allow some space for his Word to settle into your heart and mind.

God bless.

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